Keith Mautner,

Founder and Principal

Curriculum Vitae

Mission Statement

 FAILSAFE CPA delivers forensic accounting and related services: Litigation and trial consulting, expert witness testimony, valuation, investigation, audit support and Alternative Dispute Resolution. We maintain exceptional standards, while respecting and anticipating our clients’ needs in a cost effective manner. Our Principal is accessible, responsive, and offers personal attention to each client and each engagement.




 Our vision is to build a superior forensic accounting practice with a national reputation for:

1) Thoroughly investigating, understanding and providing expert analysis of complex accounting matters;

2) Delivering clear, concise and error-free work product with useful information;

3) Completing assignments in a timely manner; and

4) Providing forensic accounting services with unmatched value.



Keith Mautner, CPA/CFF, CFE, CMA has investigated alleged accounting fraud by public companies and related “audit failures” for twelve years. He is a licensed CPA (since 1994), Certified in Financial Forensics, a credentialed Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified Management Accountant. Mr. Mautner testifies as an accounting expert for both defense and plaintiffs' counsel on a variety of matters.

Mr. Mautner's career began in 1992 as auditor at Big Four accounting firm Deloitte & Touche. He later prepared financial statements and was responsible for accounting and finance as chief financial officer and controller at two private companies, and prepared SEC filings for a public company.

From 1997-2008, he was a forensic accountant for law firms Milberg Weiss, Lerach Coughlin and Coughlin Stoia. He has been an undisclosed expert consultant on more than 50 complex litigation cases in federal and state courts, and has substantial experience with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its financial reporting requirements.

For more details, please click Curriculum Vitae at left.


Notable Achievements

  • Helped counsel recover and return to shareholders $2.4 billion in losses from alleged securities fraud and corporate waste, an average recovery of ~$55 million per case.  This includes settlement contributions from 62 parties in 44 unique cases.  Additionally: o    $100 million or more was recovered in five cases – as much as $925 million – including three of the ten largest settlements ever by public companies.
o    Audit firms made settlement contributions in fourteen cases, including 3 of the 10 largest settlements ever disclosed by auditors.


  • Identified and calculated amount of contingent fees improperly reported as revenue by Gemstar–TV Guide, relying solely on public documents.  As a result, plaintiff/client was initially the only claimant to allege and quantify revenue recognition errors.  Later, Gemstar–TV Guide restated the revenue for the reasons alleged.  The SEC used the restatement and the restated amounts as admissions in obtaining civil convictions.


  • Investigated a case that had been dismissed; then developed and drafted several new, more detailed and much larger accounting allegations.  The new claims were upheld and became the focal point of the litigation.  The auditor was later alleged to be a participant in the fraud.  The case settled for $80 million.  (One of several examples.)


  • Significant involvement in first post-PSLRA case (in re Chantal Pharmaceuticals Corp Securities Litigation), first case upholding alleged violations of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (in re Lattice Semiconductor Corp SL), and first case with significant settlement contributions from individuals (in re: UnitedHealth Group Inc.).


  • Passed all four parts of the national CPA Exam on first attempt, before college graduation.  At the time, the post-graduate rate for passing all four parts of the CPA Exam on the first attempt was about 3%.  


Experienced as a Forensic Accountant

Mr. Mautner has considerable experience managing document review teams in complex litigation with accounting issues. This requires thorough and efficient coding of massive document production by public companies and their senior management, executive officers, board members, subsidiaries, business partners, suppliers, customers, auditors and others. He identifies, analyzes and summarizes "hot docs" to help establish accounting facts, individual and collective degrees of involvement with, or knowledge about, those facts, and to prepare for depositions.

Mr. Mautner frequently strengthens support for fraud and accounting allegations by finding previously overlooked connections among admissible evidence (he also finds connections that contra-indicate allegations). Notably, Mr. Mautner has a lengthy history of uncovering and developing evidence in support of previously unsuspected accounting fraud, and new defendants, sometimes leading to unexpected windfalls for counsel and their clients. 

Mr. Mautner has extensive exposure and insight into planning and execution of numerous business practices, accounting projects and audit engagements successful and otherwise under a variety of circumstances. His diverse professional background and earned credentials supplement his considerable accounting expertise, at a high level and in sophisticated environments; and provide him a broad array of litigation skills.


Specialized Skills

Mr. Mautner is an expert in financial and accounting management, concepts and practices; as well as financial reporting, accounting and auditing according to authoritative literature: Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) and SEC reporting requirements (inter alia, Regulations S-K and S-X). Under the direction of counsel, Mr. Mautner drafts accounting sections in legal briefs–including complaints, motions, interrogatories, requests for admission, document requests and responses thereto. 

In connection with both alleged accounting fraud and “audit failures,” Mr. Mautner's forensic accounting skills include determining whether financial statements and related disclosures were materially correct, whether revenues and expenses were properly recognized within those financial statements, and whether auditors complied with professional auditing standards. 

Mr. Mautner has nearly 1,000 hours of live deposition experience, primarily as "second chair" with accountant-deponents, and many times that in advance deposition planning. He prepares the deposing attorney and helps select documents, develop goals and draft topical outlines with proposed questions. He conducts expert technical accounting research and interprets, explains and clarifies confusing or conflicting evidence; and is able to leap tall trunks of audit binders in a single bound.  

In discovery, Mr. Mautner helps counsel close gaps in discovery. For example, he has identified important evidence that was neither produced nor on any log of withheld documents. Sometimes, the documents had been withheld as non-responsive, and were produced on request. Other times, "missing" evidence was produced after resolving untimely or disputed privilege assertions. He also supplements discovery results with comprehensive motion practice support and by articulating additional methods of proof.  

Accounting evidence, terminology and underlying concepts are routinely complex, confusing and – it can't be denied – boring. In the courtroom, counsel's familiarity and fluency with major accounting themes can be pivotal, helping change the course and outcome of litigation. When important accounting issues and the meaning of accounting evidence are unclear, or disputed, Mr. Mautner's forensic assistance is often key to counsel's conceptual and factual understanding of crucial documents and testimony


Obtaining forensic accounting resources is an excellent way for attorneys to

'zealously represent' the interests of their clients.


Professional Accounting Experience

  • Big Four auditor (1992–1994): Worked on dozens of independent audits of businesses large and small, both public and private.
  • Chief financial officer and corporate controller (1994–1997): Responsible for managing cash flow, forecasting, budgeting, internal and external financial reporting, business operations, human resources, employee benefits, taxes, legal and regulatory compliance.
  • SEC reporting analyst (1997): Prepared SEC filings, consolidated international revenue reports (including foreign currency translation) and worked on special cost accounting and treasury projects.
  • CPA Exam course Instructor (1993–1995): Trained degreed accountants to take the CPA exam; students of the San Diego faculty consistently had among the highest exam passing rates in the nation.

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FAILSAFE is an acronym for Forensic Accounting, Investigation, Litigation Support and Fraud Examination.

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